Beware of ruth­less tax of­fice scam­mers

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

DOU­GLAS res­i­dents have been warned of an in­crease in scam­ming around tax time.

Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Kath An­der­son said 48,084 scams were re­ported be­tween July and Oc­to­ber last year.

“We have al­ready seen a five-fold in­crease in scams from Jan­uary to May this year and typ­i­cally ex­pect fur­ther in­creases dur­ing the tax time pe­riod,” she said.

“This year, the ATO has regis­tered over 17,067 scam re­ports. Of these, 113 Aus­tralians handed over $1.5 mil­lion to fraud­sters with about 2500 pro­vid­ing some form of per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing tax file num­bers.

“One vic­tim lost $900,000 to scam­mers, even bor­row­ing from fam­ily and friends.

She said some scams were harder to spot than others.

“Scam­mers lo­cate gen­uine ATO phone num­bers from our web­site and project these num­bers in their caller ID in an at­tempt to le­git­imise their call – a form of im­per­son­ation known as ‘spoof­ing’,” she said.

“While we do make thou­sands of calls a week to peo­ple, our out­bound calls do not project num­bers on caller ID.

“If one ap­pears, it’s most likely a scam. Peo­ple should be wary of emails, phone calls and SMS dur­ing tax time that claim to be from the ATO, even if it seems le­git­i­mate.

“If you’re ever un­sure about whether a call, text mes­sage or email is gen­uine, call us on 1800 008 540.”

If you think you or some­one you know has fallen vic­tim to a tax re­lated scam, call the ATO on 1800 008 540.

For de­tails on how to ver­ify or re­port scams, visit ato.gov. au/scams or for up­dates on the lat­est scams, visit Scamwatch.

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